Whether it’s the exhausting hours in the kitchen, Aunt Lisa’s helping herself to a little too much wine, or Uncle Marc deciding that over desert is the perfect time to launch into a political debate, Thanksgiving is a holiday with plenty of land mines.
While, for most people, it’s a day to gather with friends and family and enjoy each other’s company, the feast of plenty can be a bit too much to handle for others.
Etiquette experts have their own advice on how to avoid fights over the traditional pumpkin or pecan pie. And there are approximately 17.27 billion stories, videos, and TikToks on the best foods to make and/or how to stretch a dollar as you prepare to host dinner. We got to thinking, though . . . 2023 is the year of the AI chatbot, so why not see what technology has to say about the pressing matters of the day?
As it turns out, generative AI chatbots have a lot to say about Thanksgiving. Like . . . more than you ever wanted to hear. A simple question to ChatGPT, Bing, or Bard can result in a 1,000-word answer that might have you reaching for the cooking sherry yourself.
To make things easier for you, we’ve compiled (and condensed) the answers of the Top Three chatbots on a number of common Thanksgiving questions. Here’s what they had to say.
What’s a recipe for a fun Thanksgiving side dish?
Two of the three chatbots answered this one in a straight-forward fashion. ChatGPT suggested a Cheesy Garlic Mashed Potato Casserole, which frankly sounded delicious. The chatbot noted it was “a flavorful twist on traditional mashed potatoes.” Bard, meanwhile, offered a recipe for Cranberry Pecan Wild Rice Stuffing, which also sounded pretty tasty: “packed with flavor and texture, with the sweetness of cranberries, the nutty crunch of pecans, and the earthy notes of wild rice.”
Bing? It couldn’t make up its mind. . . . And its suggestions (cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, cornbread stuffing) were pretty pedestrian, though the pumpkin mac and cheese did raise an eyebrow. One problem: It didn’t offer recipes for any of its suggestions directly, though it did offer links to places that had them.
How can I prevent a fight about politics during Thanksgiving dinner?
Here’s where things got really loquacious. And the advice was basically the same from each of the chatbots (though Bing’s was the most condensed). Each encouraged hosts to set expectations and boundaries with all of their guests beforehand and to establish a rule that the dinner is a “politics free zone.” They suggested guiding the dinner conversation with neutral topics and diverting tensions with humor and, above all else, having parties be respectful of each other.
You know, expecting basic manners from your guests.
What wine should I bring to Thanksgiving dinner?
Pinot Noir and Riesling were the two universal choices among the chatbots. Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, and sparkling wines got recs from two of the AI services. ChatGPT also suggested a Grenache or Beaujolais Nouveau as good matches. Bing favored a Syrah. And Bard threw in Gamay as a wild card.
What’s the best time to eat on Thanksgiving?
All three chatbots copped out on this one, listing advantages of lunch, midday, and evening. Bing and Bard noted that traditionally, people tend to eat in the early afternoon, but all said it comes down to your family’s preferences and schedule.
How can I manage stress while hosting Thanksgiving dinner?
The chatbots were extra chatty on this subject as well. And, once again, they all largely agreed. To keep the day from becoming a, um, pressure cooker, if you’re the host, plan ahead, making a list of everything you need to do. And delegate tasks to others to keep yourself from being overwhelmed.
Also, set realistic expectations. If you’ve got a menu that’s a dozen items, don’t expect to get it all done on Thanksgiving morning. Take breaks and be flexible. And don’t forget to make your environment relaxing, whether that’s with music, calming lights, or a favorite movie on the TV in the next room.
None of the chatbots suggested having a glass of wine while you cook, but we will.
Help me plan a Thanksgiving dinner for under $60.
As the economy gets tighter, more and more people are keeping a close eye on the price tag of their Thanksgiving feast. The menus varied slightly among the chatbots, but ChatGPT followed the request most precisely, giving cost rundowns for a turkey dinner with four sides, gravy, and desert.
Bing had a less opulent menu suggestion (and some of its prices seemed questionable—i.e., a 10-pound turkey for $10?). But it was able to bring the cost of the meal down to $35, assuming you can find the same deals it did.
Bard was the least helpful, offering an extensive menu suggestion, but not giving price estimates for any of the items.
What are some fun alternatives to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner?
Not a fan of turkey? Just can’t stomach the thought of green bean casserole? All of the chatbots had some unique alternatives to consider.
ChatGPT suggested an international feast, incorporating flavors from around the world. If that doesn’t work, it suggested a Southern Comfort Thanksgiving, focused on Southern cuisine, a tapas-style Thanksgiving, a seafood feast, a gourmet pizza party, and food-truck inspired dishes.
Bing offered up recipe links for Thanksgiving tacos, pizza, sliders, and sushi, among other items. Of note, though, many of these items require leftovers from a traditional Thanksgiving feast.
Bard seems to have really put in some thought, suggesting everything from roasted salmon with lemon and herbs and lentil shepherd’s pie to cauliflower gratin with gruyere cheese and chocolate lava cake.
AI might have its flaws, but when it comes to Thanksgiving, it does seem to have some good ideas that could potentially reduce stress and help plan the menu, giving you more time to nap or watch the game. And that’s something we all can be thankful for.